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How to Protect Yourself from EB-526 Immigrant Investor Visa Denial and Associated Risks

EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa is an alternative to getting US citizenship. It is a federal program that offers green cards to foreign investors who invest a minimum of $500,000 in real estate projects in the US to create jobs. EB-5 capital is the leading source of funding for real estate companies in the US. It has grown the real estate industry in the US tremendously. The program became more popular when banks refrained from extending construction loans during the previous economic recession. It looks like a profitable opportunity, but the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa can be denied because of problems with the project or the source of funds of the investor. Getting back the money that you have invested may be problematic and stressful. These are the adjudication policies of USCIS. How can you protect yourself from EB-526 Immigrant Investor Visa denial?

Find a project that will create a minimum of ten jobs per investor for you to advance from I-526 and get 1-829 approval. “Bridged” projects will create jobs before the investment is made. Most projects have job creation buffer of between 15-30% prior to the investment.

You should be careful not to come into an agreement with a developer who may default before the project is complete because the developer may also choose not to pay the investors, you being one of them. When the developer defaults the project, investors will not get green cards aside from the risk of losing their investments. Reputable developers who have a higher percentage of developer equity in the project than investors are less likely to opt-out of a project before its completion. Ensure that the project is managed by an independent EB-5 Regional Center that is independent so that the Regional Center won’t be caught in the middle. This will enable the Regional Center to fight for the rights of its investors.

Look for projects that guarantee a repayment from a high net worth if the I-526 is rejected, or the project should not pressure you to release the funds before the I-526 is approved. You and your advisors must conduct background checks into the reputation and experience the real estate developer and the EB-5 Regional Center of a potential project. These are the best options to protect yourself from losing your money or going through the lengthy and hectic process of retrieving it is the I-526 is denied.

Ensure that the size of the total EB-5 investment that you are making for the project is based on traditional real estate finance metrics. The repayment should not rely on the stability in capital markets or the rising market entirely because that may affect timely repayment. There should be enough cash flow from the project’s operations to repay the investment. An EB-5 Regional Center structures projects based on the real estate finance fundamentals instead of the sizing an investment based upon job creation.

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